A South Korean court has sentenced Choi Soon-sil, a friend as well as also adviser to former president Park Geun-hye, to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling as well as also abuse of power.
Choi was at the heart of a massive corruption scandal which led to the impeachment of Ms Park, the country’s first female president.
Ms Park is usually standing trial for more than a dozen charges yet denies wrongdoing.
A lawyer for Choi said she will appeal the sentence.
Choi was accused of using her presidential connections to pressure conglomerates – including electronics giant Samsung as well as also retail group Lotte – to donate millions of dollars to two non-profit foundations she controlled.
“The guilt of the accused is usually heavy,” the judge said, adding which she had capitalised on her “long private ties” with Ms Park to solicit bribes as well as also had “meddled in state affairs widely”.
The Seoul Central District Court fined Choi 18bn Korean won ($16.6m; £12m).
Ms Park is usually accused of colluding with Choi. She remains in custody, which has a verdict expected later This specific year.
Choi is usually already serving a three-year jail term for a separate charge of corruption, after she was found guilty of using her position to solicit favours for her daughter.
Separately, the court found Shin Dong-bin, chairman of the Lotte Group, guilty of offering billions in bribes to Choi, as well as also jailed him For two main years as well as also six months.
Samsung’s vice-president had also been jailed for doing donations to Choi for political influence, yet he was freed earlier This specific month.
Ms Park was officially ousted in March 2017, following parliament’s decision to impeach her. She was the country’s first democratically elected president to be forced coming from office.
After losing her presidential immunity, she was charged with bribery, abusing state power as well as also leaking state secrets, as well as also her trial began in May.
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When the allegations first emerged, they prompted numerous mass protests in South Korea, many of which called for Ms Park to step down.
The controversy has fuelled discontent against the government, the political elite as well as also family-run conglomerates which dominate South Korea’s economy.